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Tiny Robot: Yet Another Sneaky Android Review

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I am aware of the parody of myself I’ve become. I sit at my desk from 7am each day, writing about or playing games, and then when my day is over and I’ve a spare few minutes, I relax by playing some games. And as I sit in front of the TV of an evening, I also play some games. And as I fall asleep at night, I also play some games. I play a lot of Android games. I now justify this to myself by writing about them here. This is okay.

I have, however, gotten a bit too into Link-a-Pix, which I wrote about here. I’ve now spent about £35 on the game, which sounds horrendous, but two £15 lumps were buying massive packs of hundreds of puzzles, and the amount I’ve played it probably gives it greater value for money than most else. That, and Alphabear, still dominate. I wrote about that here, and they keep adding new elements and doing monthly specials, and I’ve gotten it into my head I have to unlock every bear. So new games are struggling for a look-in. But, there was room for:

Crashlands

Now, I’ve only started this recently, but I’m instantly hooked. It’s such a smart combination of survival/crafting mechanics, and casual play. Which is to say, death is not the end. In fact, it’s very minimally punished, respawning you with a few lost items, easily recovered. And yes, this is also a PC game, but no, it’s not really. It’s meant for mobile.

An alien called Flux and his robo-companion Juicebox, crash land (see?) on a planet after being attacked in space. To survive, you need to chop down a lot of sawgrass, and trees, and plants, and stuff. And then start building weapons, and walls, and bombs, and stuff. Then kill other creatures and use their bits for other stuff. And so on. But unlike so many games in the genre, this is story-led. As you explore the ridiculously enormous map, you find characters who give you quests, involving crafting certain items or killing certain beasties. And killing beasties is a real highlight, with different attacks pleasingly telegraphed, letting you work out techniques for each.

It’s also rather silly and fun. Developers Butterscotch Shenanigans may have a company name that makes me want to kick a kitten, but they’ve got a good hand for breezy humour. And as much as there is a deep element of grind, it’s yet to get to me. One particular item needed for a quest chain involved a really rather silly amount of a rarer resource, and could have been a chore to collect, but that I was constantly exploring to get it, and better, stumbling upon named beasts from other quests as I went, made it always feel like play rather than work.

The result is frantic combat interspersed with relaxed exploration, perfect for idling away time on your telephone. I’m not sure whether there will be enough variety to keep me there for long, but I’m hoping to find out.

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John Walker

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One of the original co-founders of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, I tried to leave, but they won't let me. If anyone reads this, please send help.

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